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The enchanting, almost unreal appearing landscape in northern Argentina is mostly dry. Especially in the higher altitudes of the Andes, only plants adapted to the extreme conditions, like the hundreds of years old cacti, can survive. However, this is precisely where Argentina's northernmost growing region is located, which produces wines of surprising quality. Learn more about the exciting Salta wine region and discover the refreshing white wine from the Torrontés Riojano grape as well as full-bodied, intense red wines at VINELLO.
Wine region Salta
The wine-growing region of Salta extends in the northwest of Argentina. It borders Bolivia to the north and Paraguay to the northeast. Salta is, next to Catamarca, Tucuman and Jujuy, the highest wine growing region in Argentina. It is named after the province of Salta and its provincial capital of the same name. In the southwest of the province of Salta, in the Valles Calchaquíes, lies the Departamento Cafayate. Next to Santa Maria and Colomé, Cafayate is the most important growing area, 70% of the wines from Salta are produced here.
What sets the Salta wine region apart?
Already in the 16th century Jesuit missionaries dared to experiment with planting vines at an altitude between 1600 and 3000 meters above sea level - with success. Today, the area around Cafayate is comparatively small, only about 2,000 hectares, but some excellent wines originate from this region, which also owe their quality to the special climate in the high Andean valleys.
What is the grape variety Torrontés Riojano?
The region of Salta is especially famous for a white variety, the Torrontés Riojano. Torrontés Riojano should not be confused with the Torrontés variety, which is grown in the northwest of Spain. White wines of the Torrontés Riojano variety from Salta are characterized by a fresh, exotic scent and a perfect aroma.
Further highlights of the region are perfect, varietal red wines and blends of deep red color from the Malbec, Tannat and Syrah varieties.
The development of winegrowing in Salta
In the 16th century, missionaries began to plant the first vines at an altitude of over 1600 m above sea level. However, it took until the 19th century for commercial viticulture to begin in Salta. On an area of about 4000 hectares, wine is grown in the region. Overall, however, this represents only a fraction of the total area under vines in Argentina.
The high altitudes make this production area very special. While the wines produced initially lacked balance and finesse in the early days of viticulture in Salta, the region underwent a fundamental change in the 21st century. The experience of the winegrowers and modern technologies have led to an enormous increase in quality. Among wine connoisseurs, the Salta region is now considered one of the most exciting in the world.
Famous Bodegas in Salta
The bodegas in the region have also promoted tourism in Salta. Especially in the surroundings of Cafayate there are some picturesque bodegas that produce top quality wines. These include the Michel Torinos Bodega El Esteco and the Bodega Vasija Secreta. One of the oldest wineries is the Bodega Etchart. It exists since 1850 and produces excellent Torrontés.
Interesting facts about the Salta wine region
What is the climate like in Salta?
The climate in the Salta region is dry and warm overall. Rainfall is almost exclusively between January and March. The dry climate requires artificial irrigation of the vineyards. With increasing altitude as the air not only thinner, but also the temperature differences between day and night increase. In addition, the sun's rays are particularly strong at altitude, which results in concentrated and full-bodied wines.
What are the soils like in the Salta wine region?
The soils in the valleys are mainly alluvial. They are continuously regenerated by the sediment carried by the rivers and the action of the winds. The soil profile ranges from sandy and stony in the higher areas to sandy and loamy in the lower areas. The siliceous soils are characterized by good drainage. The pH of the soils averages 7-7.5 and the mostly sandy soil composition facilitates irrigation management.
Which grape varieties are cultivated in the province of Salta?
The region is best known for the white grape Torrontés Riojano. But red varieties also thrive excellently in the high altitude air. The most commonly grown red varieties are Malbec, Tannat and Syrah. Some winegrowers now also grow other varieties on a small scale, such as Chardonnay or Merlot.
The following grape varieties are grown in the Salta region:
Torrontés Riojano - Speciality of the Salta region
Order Salta wines online on VINELLO
Would you like to create your own exploration tour through Salta? Just browse through our assortment - VINELLO has many wonderful classics and exciting new discoveries in its program. Discover the variety of wines and benefit from our sommelier advice. Secure purchasing and guaranteed prompt delivery ensure that your journey of enjoyment can begin quickly and lead you directly to the pleasure of wine.
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